Friday, August 24, 2012

The Transition

I have thought several times about this, and many many people ask me about it. I have always answered the questions, but I haven't written here. And since this will be used as a family diary of some sort, I wanted to make sure I had documented it somewhere. Just in case when I'm 75 and I've forgotten. I definitely want to be able to remember this.

Many have asked how the transition from 1 kid to 2 kids was. Here goes...

I honestly had the absolute worst expectations. Maybe because Jay was a tough baby and I thought for sure we'd have another tough baby. Maybe because Jay was actually still a baby (9 months old!!) when we got pregnant. Who knows why I had terrible expectations. But I did.

And that turned out to be a joke!

Going from 1 kid to 2 kids was infinitely easier than going from 0 to 1. Honestly. When you have no kids and then you have your first, it's a HUGE lifestyle change. You are now waking up at odd hours, getting no sleep, splitting time because a husband and child, totally forgetting that you were once a person because now all you are is a milk factory with spit up in your hair and poop on your clothes. You don't go to late dinners anymore and you definitely never get to sleep in. Your car becomes dirty, your house becomes cluttered, and your friends without kids grow a little further away. Going from no kids to having your first is DIFFERENT. You also aren't used to running on no sleep. You don't know that this phase or that phase will end one day. EVERYTHING is unexpected because you've never done it before. You freak out that your baby is crying and you can't help. There is so so so much that was hard about the first kid.

But then it all clicks and you realize how incredible it is. You figure out a type of love that you didn't know existed. You find yourself WANTING to skip dinners with friends because it means you get more time with that precious baby of yours. You are all about making friends with people who have kids because they "get" you. And then you think there is no way you can love anything else as much as you love your first kid.

So I was scared about having the second one. Roll all of that into the fact that #2 wasn't planned- and you have one scared momma! Not to mention Jay was a clinger- he was ALWAYS on my hip or right by me. Talk about separation anxiety. How in the world could I give him the attention he needed while caring for a newborn?

So, how was the transition from 1 to 2?

So much better than I could have ever expected.

There aren't really any unknowns anymore. You know how to calm a crying baby. You know what different cries mean. You know how to get along on no sleep. You know how to divide your time. You know how to put yourself last. You know that tough phases end. You know a whole lot more. Right there it makes it so much easier.

Personally for us, all of that made it easier. But what was most amazing was Jay.

He was totally opposite of how I imagined him. He has been the most incredible big brother to his baby. He was way too young to get it that a new little sister was coming. We couldn't prepare him or explain to him. I mean, a 17 month old just doesn't get it. But once she was here, he was amazing with her.

From day one he has loved on her. He has kissed her, patted her, given her pacifiers when she cried. He's worried about her and come running to me when she is upset. He hugs her, kisses, gets right in her face and talks to her. He has absolutely been a precious little loving guy. I was shocked.

And when I held her, he was ok. When I nursed her, he just sat right by me. When I had to tend to her, he dealt with it. When I stopped putting him to sleep at night, he's been fine. He's not changed demeanor, he's not thrown tantrums- nothing. He's been truly amazing!

That's not saying any of this has been easy. It hasn't. I have to really really be careful of my time. I try to play as much and often as I can with Jay while Charley is down. He still needs one on one attention from me. We are always positive with Jay about Charley and praise his sweetness. We model how we want him to act and he just follows right along. I hear him all the time talking to her how we do... "I comin' punkin!" when she wakes up from nap.... "Hi Caryey Caryey" as he gets in her face to make her smile.... "Hi missy may" just like Daddy calls her... It's the cutest.

I think one of the things that made it easier was having them so close together. Jay was so young that he didn't remember life before Charley. Now that's he 2? Yeah, he remember what happened yesterday, and last week, and even last month. But at the time- he didn't remember anything beyond a few minutes ago. So bringing a home this new baby wasn't a huge shock.

We tried to keep his world as normal as possible. Five days after giving birth I took him to Gymboree. Alone. He needed that. The day we got home from the hospital, I put him down for bed. Just like always. We didn't give him special attention, we didn't give him junk food to compensate, and we didn't buy him lots of things. We just kept on loving him like we always had. We kept his life normal.

I also think it was easier because there wasn't time to just dwell on anything. With one kid and LOTS of grandparents/friends/aunts and uncles around, you have time to just sit. With a second kid, there wasn't a chance for me to stop and think about my body hurting. There was someone else who needed me when I got a break. There wasn't time to wallow in self-pity- I just had a baby, I'm so tired, I'm so weepy, I'm so sore. I had to just keep on keepin' on. I swear my recovery was a jillion times faster because of that this go round.

I think the transition was also easier because of Charley. She hasn't been an EASY baby- but she has been easier than what we know. She never wanted to be put down, she wouldn't sleep in her bassinet for a while, she cried if anyone else held her. She hated her swing (we are 0 for 2 on that darn thing), didn't love the bouncy seat like Jay did... but we just went with it. We didn't worry about things and just went with what she liked. And it made our lives SO MUCH EASIER.

Remember how I said I didn't think I could love anything else as much as I love my (first) baby? What a joke! I love Charley so much it hurts. Just like I love Jay. I always heard parents say it, but now I get it. I love them so differently. I love Jay because he's Jay. And I love Charley because she's Charley. I love both of my kids so much- and so differently. There is no dividing your love. There is just doubling your heart.

So you ask how the transition was? Perfect. And if I could guarantee it would be like this with each new addition, I'd have a dozen. Well, maybe not (I can't imagine how hard it would be to get the baby weight off after that many!). But for sure we're having another, and if I have my way, two more...  :) God has been so good to us through this whole experience. We are blessed beyond measure for sure!


Meagan said...

Oh, how I needed to hear this; I have such a fear of having a second child, yet know that Preslie would love a sibling. Thank you, Courtney, for this encouragement!

The Callegaris said...

Yup. Agree. Yes. Nod. So true.

We are also 0 for 2 on the swing. Didn't even put batteries in it this time around!

The Torno's said...

So glad it's going well for you guys!

Patty Brown-Gordon said...

Yay!! I'm going from 1 to 2 around thanksgiving. It gives me hope that my future will be easier than I think.

Ashley said...

John and I both read this. Thanks for sharing--a good reminder that we should keep things normal for Tully, no crazy gifts/candy, just give him love, attention, and praise for being a good big brother when Clare arrives in December.

Raquel said...

Found your blog through Chelsea's. I was also a KKG at A&M (PC '02). I am scared to death of having a second baby, but reading this was so comforting. Thanks for being so upfront and honest!